Hours before Election Day, some Twin Cities businesses boarded up their buildings or announced plans to hire additional security.
For weeks, business groups and local and state government leaders have been planning for the possibility that unrest could break out again after the presidential election. This week, they’ll find out whether their precautions were needed.
After a turbulent summer and fall, stores and offices in Chicago, New York and other cities are taking similar security measures.
On Monday afternoon, workers in downtown Minneapolis were putting up protective barriers on the windows and doors of some buildings. Others remained bare, with few signs of change.
In the early afternoon, precautions seemed most extensive on Nicollet Mall, where many businesses were damaged in August after false reports spread that police had killed a man who had actually killed himself.
While some of the security measures were newly installed, some businesses on the street, including Target, have had windows covered with boards since the summer riots.
A Target spokeswoman said the Twin Cities-based company is monitoring the evolving climate across the country and will determine any precautions on a case-by-case basis.
“Target’s top priority is the safety of our team members and guests,” the company said, in a statement. “Like many businesses, we’re taking precautionary steps to ensure safety at our stores, including giving our store leaders guidance on how to take care of their teams. We’ll continue to monitor our communities closely and make decisions accordingly.”
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District, said each business handled its own security arrangements. After receiving an update from local law enforcement officials last week, the DID suggested businesses consider following some security tips. Among them: Remove loose objects that could be used to damage their property. Leave exterior lights on and make sure security cameras are working and recording. Have a plan to board up the building, if needed.
Farther south, in the suburbs, major businesses said they too were taking special precautions.
The Mall of America will remain open during regular business hours Tuesday but with extra safety measures in place.
“Out of an abundance of caution we will have additional security and police officers on duty throughout the week,” Dan Jasper, a Mall of America spokesman, said in an e-mail.
In the weeks leading up to the election, city and state leaders have emphasized that they are communicating more frequently with one another and are trying to make changes based on what they learned from the rioting that followed George Floyd’s death in May.
In a news conference this weekend, Gov. Tim Walz appeared to strike an optimistic tone.
“I expect things to go as they always have,” Walz said. “There will be passions. The votes will come in. We’ll get the results on them. We’ll certify them, and then the winners will assume office, whether that is from school board and county elections, all the way up to the presidency of the United States.”
He added: “The expectation is when you run for office in a democracy, the voters will decide and once they decide, you accept that result no matter what. That’s the way it works.”
Staff writer Briana Bierschbach contributed to this report.